Happy Mortal

This life, well-lived.

Five ways to make winter your friend

Espresso Winter in the Pacific North West used to mean holidays and a little extra rain. Christmas fell nicely between a long, crisp Fall, and a splendidly extended Spring. But the last few winters have been brutal on a PNW scale.

By New Year’s this year my psyche was chapped, my lips sore and peeling, and my love for Seattle was growing dim. It was then I decided that I needed to salvage this relationship.

There’s no changing the weather, but that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt. While the rest of the nation was mocking me for being a softy, I turned that supple exterior to good use. Here’s five tips to get you started.

1. Coffee. Yeah, this seems like a duh moment, I know. But I’m not talking about drugging up for the day. I’m talking about creating a nice little ritual that gives you a reason to enjoy getting out of bed in the morning. Let coffee become a ritual instead of just a necessity. Take half an hour and journal, or read poetry, or just relax in a few moments of peace and quiet before you hit the crowds and the elements. Make a morning playlist. I don’t care what you do, just make sure it’s something you like.

2. Vitamin D. Another duh suggestion, but a darn good one. This little vitamin does more things that you could shake a stick at, and when you go to work before sunrise and get home after dark, your skin is making none of it. You’ll be surprised about the balance you start to feel when you’ve regularly taken it for a few weeks.

3. Omegas. I prefer flax seed oil (with lignans), but not everyone can stomach a spoonful of oil in the morning. Take a pill if you need to, but get these fatty acids in your system. They’re great for your skin, heart, and provide a boost in mood stabilization. Omegas aren’t the cure all, but they’re a great way to get a headstart on the physical and emotional stress of winter.

4. Hydrate. Staying hydrated is probably the single biggest thing you can do to increase your general well being. Other than peeing a lot, drinking water will help offset the liquid you loose by upping your caffeine, and help fight ubiquitous dry skin. Water will help reduce headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, and it will help keep your immune system up and running.

5. Wardrobe. The last tip to help you befriend winter is a bit of a wild card, but its the x-factor that can make all the difference. First of all, dressing to stay warm will save you plenty of angst during your day. Second, if you’re not used to dressing for a long winter, you may be scraping the bottom of your closet to layer enough just to stay warm. If this is the case, it’s time to go shopping for a few winter essentials. Don’t break the bank, Wall Street is already on top of that for you, but do make a few purchases that will make you want to head out the door in the morning just to show off your new duds.


  1. Yep, morning rituals are crucial in those cold, dark winter mornings. Steps 1 (the ritual part) 3 and 4 can be at least partially met with the morning smoothie: A bit of yogurt (coconut-based for vegans like me) with frozen berries, flax meal, hemp oil, and soy milk or fruit juice. It’s a quick breakfast to go, with healthy fat, complex carbs, fiber, and it tastes great.

  2. I live in the LA area so the winter does not quite have the suck-your-soul effect that it can in cloudier climes. Nevertheless, my morning ritual definitely makes my days better.

    Here it is: 1. Get up at least an hour before anyone 2. Brew myself a pot of green tea (It also makes a difference that I have my own tea pot and cup) 3. Check my online social sites and RSS feeds while eating cereal and drinking tea.

  3. Winter…well not my friend, is, a very formal acquaintance that seems to be a constant in my social scene. My avoidance/small talk niceties include:

    1. Own several bright scarves. (Some homemade) Knit several more
    during said season
    2. Sleep in
    3. Stock up on tea
    4. Have numerous game nights
    5. Own my favorite t.v. shows on dvd
    6. Airborne, vitamin d, and vitamin c
    7. Keep alive an eternal hope that spring will again arrive to save
    the day and that summer is on it’s way with the drinks.